She’s got a smile that it seems to me, reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything was fresh as the bright blue sky
Now and then when I see her face, she takes me away to that special place
And if I’d stare too long, I’d probably break down and cry
Oh…..Sweet child o’ mine
I think that it takes a mom, or a very special kind of person, to be able to tell you exactly what they were doing at a certain moment 8, 10, 15, or in this case 19 years ago. This, for me, is one of those moments. The last 24 hours, actually, I could have walked you through my day 19 years ago.
I was 23, 6 days from my 24th birthday. It was midnight, and my water broke. The treasure I had awaited for 9 long months was finally ready to come to fruition. Your dad was awake before I could make it back to the bedroom, and off to the hospital we went. Dewitt Army Hospital, to be exact. I was so excited, your dad was so nervous. Once I was settled, did you know that he went home “to let the dog out?” I think he was frightened to be there, waiting and wondering. When he returned, he helped me to walk around, brought me the sunday paper, and we sat chatting quietly as other moms came and went….you took your time even then. A shannon is NEVER to be rushed.
After 25 hours of active labor, you popped into the world. Because you were so big, the doctors told me all along that you were a boy. When you came into this world, the first thing the doctor said was “that’s the funniest looking boy I’ve ever seen”. I was so scared, until he turned you around. You were, and still are, the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. You hardly cried…just took in the world around you with that serious “hmmm what can I do with THIS” look you get. A look I have seen thousands and thousands of times in your life…a look I love and respect. I picked your first name, he, your second.
The took you away to the nursery, your dad went home to get some sleep, and I went to my room with 3 other women. Although I had been awake over 28 hours, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t wait for them to bring you back to me. I was able to see you again at 6:00am. I just couldn’t put you down. You were so perfect, so beautiful, and all mine. We just looked at each other, and I told you all the hopes and dreams I had for you, promised to love and protect you forever. That was the first time I ever sang “my girl” to you. You simply looked at me, taking it all in. When your dad returned at 7, and held you for the first time since you were born, you promptly threw up in his shirt pocket.
I used to just sit and watch you sleep, wondering at this miracle that had been presented to me. Feeling unworthy of such a wonderous gift. If I sit long enough, I can remember each and every day of your life. You are such a treasure, a true miracle to me. I would sing “sweet child o’ mine” to you, and you would smile. “My Girl” was our song. Our secret moment. Did you ever wondered why these were your very favorite songs throughout your life?
Through all of our years, our trials and tribulations, we’ve always been the best of friends. I always swore to that. My mother and I were not, and I refused to have that relationship with my daughter. You really are my best friend. You know more about me than any living person ever has, have supported me, lifted me up, been my strength, my cheering section, my fred. I love you so much, I am so proud of you. You have grown into an honest, respectful, beautiful, incredible, strong and independent woman. You are your own person. A bit hard-headed at times, but I think that will serve you well in life. You don’t let anyone run over you, and that is good. And even when I get angry with you, which happens to everyone from time to time, I still can’t help but cut you some slack, because you are MY baby girl.
And today, as you turn 19, know that as much as I loved you at that first moment, I love you infinitely more now…and it grows every day. My wish for you on this day, as for every day, is that you have the life you imagined for yourself, you find love, honesty, and kindness at every turn, never look back with regret, make and keep good friends, influence others, don’t be pushed around, be your own light, have faith, trust God to lead you, pray daily, play hard, and baby, don’t let the bastards get you down.
Being 19, I know you are too cool to read all the junk your mommy writes, so you’ll never see this, but I hope that somehow, you remember, even when I forget to say it, I am so proud of you, and I love you so much. Happy Birthday baby girl.